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Could CNN Become the New Fox News?

AOC
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, being interviewed on CNN.

CNN has been struggling. The evidence is in the product. I, a consumer of CNN who has relied on the network as a general source of everyday news for about a decade, am no longer able to tolerate the network. The quality is too low; the partisanship too egregious; the tone too indignant and/or out-of-breath-hyperbolic. Somewhere along the way CNN became wholly unusable in my opinion; offering a product more akin to a state-run propaganda organ than a reliable hard news distributor.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.   

“Projections from S&P Global Market Intelligence say CNN’s profitability is on pace to decline to $956.8 million this year,” The New York Times reported. “That would mark the first time since 2016 that the network had dipped below $1 billion in profit, according to three people familiar with its operations.”

Overly Optimistic Launch of CNN+

Most aptly signifying CNN’s recent troubles is the CNN+ debacle. CNN+ was the company’s new streaming service, meant to propel the media outlet into the digital age. CNN+’s launch, earlier this year,  was a professional-class spectacle: “Ethan Hawke, who directed a film for CNN+, mingled with Anderson Cooper and Carl Bernstein as guests nibbled on miniature lobster rolls and gawked at the dizzying views of the New York City skyline.” CNN executives were ecstatic about their new product, projecting “that within the next decade, CNN+ would be more profitable than the company’s cable arm today,” Axios reported. CNN felt its streaming service had the capacity to attract 30 million global subscribers from a total market of 72 million people. The streaming service was the future.  

CNN+ belly-flopped. Really, it was a disaster. “At any given time, fewer than 10,000 people were watching the service,” The New York Times reported. YouTube video game players, by comparison, regularly have more real-time viewers than CNN+. The streaming service, which was meant to bring CNN into the future, did not last a single month – “a stunning move given that … CNN poured nearly $100 million into development costs for the streaming service, in addition to huge expenses on promotion,” Deadline reported.  

Is There an Ideological Shift Coming?

Now, after the CNN+ mess, a few scandals, and an ownership change, rumors are now swirling that CNN may be considering an ideological shift. 

“Major changes at CNN in recent weeks have sparked chatter in media and political circles that the network’s new corporate ownership is pulling it to the political right,” The Hill reported. “CNN strongly denies such a change is taking place, saying it is entirely focused on objective journalism.” Well, we know objectively that CNN is not focused on objective journalism – at least not in the very recent past;  the network had become something like a sponsored entity of the DNC. But CNN’s ultimate goal is to make a profit.

Could that pervasive objective inspire a shift to the right? Sure, in theory. But where are these rumors coming from?  

“Criticisms of President Biden by on-air personalities in particular have triggered questions from the political left about whether things are changing at CNN, which has a new corporate owner,” The Hill reported. “Brianna Keilar, an anchor on CNN’s flagship morning program, lambasted Biden’s White House last week over a decision to use U.S. Marines and a dark-red backdrop in the background of a speech slamming Trump Republicans.”

There it is; that’s really it: a CNN anchor criticized Biden for criticizable behavior. That criticizing a Democratic president in any way could be construed as a shift to the right indicates how strictly partisan CNN, the media at large, and indeed society has become. Criticizing Biden is not right-wing. Criticizing Trump is not left-wing. Left-wingers should be criticizing their left-wing leaders. Right-wingers should be criticizing their right-wing leaders. Criticism from the “other side” doesn’t mean all that much, especially today. “Same-side” criticism, on the other hand, is more credible and perhaps more likely to inspire reform. And generally, criticizing public officials, holding them accountable, is the responsibility of citizens within a democracy. 

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Ivan Bear

    September 9, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    In CNN’s reporting on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a reporter referred to her as “Queen of England.” She was actually the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    The same reporter also couldn’t pronounce the name of the queen’s granddaughter Eugenie. Her name isn’t U-genie as CNN would have you believe.

  2. Marie DeHond

    September 9, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Where is the news about the documents seized from Maralogo? Where is the story about weaponizin the DOJ? She wasn’t our Queen!

  3. Ferries

    September 10, 2022 at 7:01 am

    Cnn has criticized Biden many times they are not fake like Fox News who constantly praise and glorify trump and are afraid to allow anyone if their guests to say anything about trump all because they’re afraid there ratings wil be worse than cnn once they lose all the trump ers.

  4. Wendy hurst

    September 10, 2022 at 11:42 am

    “Criticizing Biden is not right wing”. Thank you for this. I know a lot of us have taken issue with how blindly loyal MAGA is. I’ve always felt that one if our biggest partisan issues in the US was that while the left held their representives accountable, tge right did not. Unfortunately cable TV has really helped change that. The biggest problem currently, though, is that I feel like the left has been put through the finger with all this MAGA BS. The name calling from a “president” ie ” snowflake” ” libtard” ” woke”.. is bad enough. There was a special edge to it all, perhaps because it was coupled with racism, misogyny,violence, corruption and fraud. I STILL don’t know what all the phony grievances from the right are all about, but i know my people are done taking crap. I do feel like the reason Bidens approval ratings are so low is because of democrats. Republicabs were always going to give Bifsn low approvals. But they did with Obams too but Obama held much better approvals than Biden. It’s because the dems are giving him poor approvals too. I know I am in many areas. Still, when I go online or watch TV and hear these Republicans making up stuff and their voters making fun of bidens stutter, and I don’t care how poorly he’s doing….he’s not like trump. I wholeheartedly believe he’s trying to do something good for the US and I don’t believe trump ever did, unless he had something to personally gain. So I am kind of “blindly ” loyal too in a way. But for much better, realistic TRUE reason than the right does with trump. I won’t “revenge ” vote. Liz Cheney being honest was nice and everything but I know her politics. I’d never vote her in to an office just because she pissed off trump. That’s the kind of thing I see republicans doing. They vote against ALL OF OUR INTETRESTS just to “own the libs” and would never go that far!

  5. GhostTomahawk

    September 11, 2022 at 8:28 am

    Finally a coherent thought from this guy.

    CNN is garbage. They’re all garbage because they aren’t news. They’re political entertainment channels. “How many diverse faces can I use to tell you what you want to hear?”

  6. Froike

    September 11, 2022 at 11:15 am

    Does anyone still watch CNN?

  7. Steven

    September 11, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    Love all the Trump haters. I love Trump and everything about him. He is on the verge of taking down the criminal LEFT, the way he destroyed CNN. This is why the left is terrified of him.

    MAGA, bitches!

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